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Wed Oct 2, 2013, 02:31 PM

Teamsters Turn Down Wegmans Offer

Teamsters Local 118 members overwhelmingly voted on Monday to reject a Wegmans Food Markets contract offer that the union claims would eliminate the pensions of more than 900 employees in Wegmans’ hometown of Rochester, N.Y., and endanger health care for the workers’ spouses. Local 118 said it would request the participation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to settle the outstanding contract.

“Our members flatly said no to an offer that would immediately cut their compensation package, eradicate our pension and leave our spouses’ health care in jeopardy,” said Kevin McIntosh, Teamsters Local 118 business agent. In rejecting the contract, Teamsters Local 118 also authorized strike action.

“It is extremely frustrating that the Teamsters’ desire to keep Wegmans from leaving its troubled pension fund put our employees in the position it did,” CEO Danny Wegman said in response to the union’s rejection of the company’s “last, best and final” offer. “We made an offer to provide a more secure future for our people, and the union responded with misinformation and pressure on its own members – our employees – to reject that offer. We are very concerned.”

According to Wegmans, its offer included an immediate $1,000 lump-sum payment for full-time employees ($500 for part-time); an 18 percent pay increase over the life of the six-year contract; a move to Wegmans fully funded retirement plan, and a package of retirement assistance options valued at more than $10 million. The grocer would also pay the financially troubled New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund millions of dollars in withdrawal liability to help save the benefits already due its employees from the fund.

http://www.progressivegrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/retail-supermarket-industry-news/id40088/teamsters-turn-down-wegmans-offer/

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